Hal Luscombe had a field day as Wales U 21 ran riot at the Brewery Field,
Bridgend, this afternoon, piling up 10 tries on their way to a commanding
second victory of the campaign.
The South African-born Newport centre completed his try hat-trick two
minutes from the end as Wales bounced back from their defeat by France to
add the Italian scalp to that of the Irish.
Cardiff fly half Nicky Robinson got the scoreboard moving with a penalty
goal in the third minute before Wales started doing serious damage with the
ball in hand.
Captain Matthew Brayley, the Swansea centre, was the creator for the first,
scored by Llanelli flanker Gareth Williams, before Luscombe started getting in
on the act.
He started and finished a move that swept half the length of the pitch and by
the 20th minute Wales got their third try when Ebbw Vale flanker Rhys Williams
forced his way over the line from a line-out.
The Italian defence held firm for another 14 minutes - but then presented
Wales with a gift-wrapped score.
Full back Andrea Masi dealt with a long kick downfield well enough and even
made valuable ground running the ball back at Wales.
But when he attempted an ambitious long pass, he only succeeded in finding
UWIC No 8 Rhys Jones who galloped 55 metres for try No 4.
The Italian defence was opened up again just before the break, a long pass
from Robinson creating a three-man overlap, Luscombe ignoring the advantage to
go over for his second and Wales' fifth.
Rhys Jones and Rhys Williams both got second tries from close range soon
after the break before Gareth Swales made the running for Neath prop Adam
Jones to score and then Aled Gravelle (Llanelli), with his first touch as a
back row replacement, got the ninth.
Italy, who had Michael Rizzo and Andrea Frassenello yellow carded in the second
half, still managed to notch up their first try of the tournament, the honour
going to flanker Claudio Mannato.
Luscombe still had time for his hat-trick - but Italy had the last word
with Gonzalo Canale crossing for their second try in the dying seconds.
Wales: Tries - H Luscombe 3, R Williams 2, R Jones 2, G Williams, A Jones,
A Gravelle; Cons - N Robinson 6; Pen - N Robinson
Italy: Tries - C Mannato, G Canale; Con - V Zullo
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
WRU Chief Executive Roger Lewis, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism Ken Skates and WRU Chairman Gareth Davies earlier this week launched a new competition in conjunction with the WRU unveiling its archive room.
Welsh players and management joined Deputy Minister for Sport Ken Skates at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay earlier this week to reveal the Union's pioneering school-club hub initiative has been so successful the project will now almost double the scale of the original project.
The Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons, Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys look ahead to Judgement Day III which sees the Blues take on the Ospreys (2.30) and the Dragons tackle the Scarlets (4.45pm) at the Millennium Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
Blues strike first in JD III battle - Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs, WRU referee Dylan Llyr Jones and Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees decide dressing room allocations for Judgement Day III
Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
Dodgy tattoos, carthorses, Avatar and soft chins are revealed by Wales Sevens players Tom Williams and Sam Cross as they profile the Wales Sevens squad taking part in Hong Kong this weekend in the latest round of the HSBC Sevens World Series.